Skip to main content

Charges laid in New Westminster carjacking, police say

A 27-year-old New Westminster man has been charged in connection to Wednesday's carjacking incident in the city, according to local police.

Kaeden Hnatiw is facing one count of robbery and one count of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle after allegedly stealing a taxi in New Westminster's Uptown neighbourhood.

Police started receiving calls reporting a taxi driving erratically and striking other vehicles around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Videos posted on social media showed the cab being boxed in by police vehicles at the intersection of Sixth Street and Seventh Avenue and the driver being arrested.

The incident sent pedestrians scrambling.

"People in other vehicles were screaming. People were afraid," said Anthony Smith, a witness who lives in the neighbourhood.

"Anything that got in the way, he was going to take them out," said fellow bystander Michael Phillips, who believes he played a role in the takedown of the suspect.

As police vehicles followed the taxi, Phillips told CTV News his instincts took over.

"So I said well (expletive) it. Now the guy's banging and clanging and he's right in the corner there so I said ‘I have to slow this guy down,’" said Phillips. "So I grabbed one of my unopened beers, which is a tall can—Danish beer—which I didn't want to waste."

Phillips, a former football player, then hurled the beer can in the driver’s direction.

"Right through the window, and I know it hit him," he said.

The suspect was stopped and arrested shortly after Phillips threw his beer.

A spokesperson for Royal City Taxi told CTV News on Thursday that its driver had been pulled out of his taxi and dragged a short distance as the carjacker stole the vehicle. He was taken to hospital, but has since been released and is now recovering at home.

In a statement Friday, the New Westminster Police Department said Hnatiw remains in custody.

“Thanks again to public for their patience as we understand this was a significant disruption to the neighbourhood,” said Sgt. Andrew Leaver in the statement.

“This individual was safely taken into custody thanks to the excellent work of our front line officers and we are thankful nobody was seriously injured.”

The NWPD says witnesses to the incident who need support are welcome to call its Victim Assistance Unit at 604-529-2525.

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Kevin Charach Top Stories

Here is Canada's unseasonably mild December forecast

December is predicted to be unseasonably mild across Canada, thanks to a "moderate-to-strong" El Nino and human-caused warming. Warming and precipitation trends will be stronger in some parts of the country than others, and severe weather is still possible, meteorologists say.

Stay Connected